Memetic Infrastructure Building Self-Accelerating Systems By David Weekly for SVLUG :: February 3, 2010
Goodness & Infrastructure People are Good, but not relentlessly so. People will first explore Good options, then the less-good ones. Bad actions almost always mean a lack of Good options. Infrastructure (buildings, society, business) defines the options that are easy or hard. Therefore, Infrastructure is moral destiny.
( Wait, Really? ) Society could not exist if most actors were Bad. Like TCP, too much counts on good behavior of untrusted intermediaries. The fact that Society exists is therefore prima facie evidence that people are Good. Note particularly: Wikipedia, Open Source, &c.
But we can do better… Observing the systems around you, what’s broken? How could it be made better? Good news: you are that change. Society is consensus, but one person can start a movement. The tools for creating change are more powerful than ever.
The Code of Organization An organization’s principles and structure are its source code. An amendment is a patch. A franchise is a fork. Building organizations = coding systems.
What is a Meme? You can think of ideas like viruses / genes Can be something silly. Needs to be self-replicating “Have kids. Teach your kids this.” “Tell other people about this.” Some memes are like the 24-hour flu I KISS YOU! (and almost anything on YouTube) Some last millennia Farming as a meme Religion as a meme
Memetic Infrastructure What if the blueprints for a society are copyable? Churches have been doing this for thousands of years. Physical building of certain design Certain rituals performed at a certain time Roles of the participants (priest, altar boy, choir) More recently: commercial franchises.
Infrastructure 2.0 BarCamp, DevHouse, LUGs, TED => TEDx Spreading cultural concepts & structures at Internet speed. “You should use Open Source” / “You should use wikis” / “You should check out our LUG” Deliver tools, attention, and excitement along with case studies. #leanstartup applied to community design.
New Problems Community Marks How do you enforce a global mark of an organization / movement that is 10 months old and has no money or formal organization? First-to-file regimes: ignore them? (Mexico) Good answers: transparency and communication.
Good Ideas Steal! Look at what others are doing in the community Look at how other communities spread Learn from your “franchisees”! Franchise Document your founding, tools, problems, and discoveries. Every action is a case study. Adapt Let the end users figure out what this means to them. Reduce your mandatory principles to that which is truly core.
What are Effective Communities? Shared vision and values. Members feel they belong & are doing work. Outsiders know how to join and are encouraged to do so. Members are encouraged to be more involved and are rewarded for doing so.
Is Your Community Effective? Has the organization written down its vision and values? Is the community is meeting regularly? Are tasks are getting done with visible, regular progress from clearly responsible individuals? Are you assisting sister (and child) orgs? Are you candidly assessing and addressing what’s not working well? (Post-mortems)
Community Evolution Build online interest & discussion. Have a first meeting. Start meeting regularly. Acquire a venue. Become a movement.